I stumbled upon Mythos Academy for a while now. I know it is not a new series, but I was not sure if I should read it. I’ve read good reviews, but also bad ones. To read, or not to read, that was my question. Last month I finally decided to give it a try. Here is my review, and my thoughts on Mythos Academy Series, by Jennifer Estep.
Touch of Frost (#1)
My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy; a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest. But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why; especially since I should have been the one who died…
The book itself is easy to read, and the chapters are short, which is good. The novel also starts with a mini-action scene, and we get to know more as the story unfolds, which I like. I like the concept behind the book, and it could’ve been a very interesting story, even though the idea itself is not unique. However, I do have some problems with the characters, the plot, and the writing.
One thing I observed is that the writer repeats herself over, and over again. She repeats words, but also certain scenes. For example, the word pumpkin is mentions 19 times; Gwen talks about her”gypsy gift” only 35 times, and she’s being called “Gypsy Girl” on 33 occasions; what happened with Paige is told in 44 scenes; the words “Grandma Frost” are mentioned 57 times; Gwen is surrounded by panthers (x41) and Spartans (x74); the list goes on. The descriptions are also repetitive (e.g. statue x51). I don’t need to be told the exact same thing more than once, or twice. It gets annoying.
This series is based on mythologies. While it does mention that there are warriors who descended from all sorts of gods, the book is focused more on the Greek mythology. Ninjas, Vikings, Amazons etc. are mentioned briefly. With the exception of Loki and his wife, who are Norse gods, but we don’t get too much background information about them, either. We just know Loki is evil. Why? He just is. There!
Why don’t we get background information ? Well, Gwen is not interested in her classes, and since the story is written in the first person, we don’t get to know much about the gods, their history, and their connection to their warriors. For example, Gwen has a history course, and instead of paying attention so she can find out more about the world she is forced to live in (so we can find out more about her world) she says this:
So far, Professor Metis had been pretty vague about what exactly the Chaos was, and I hadn’t exactly been paying rapt attention to all the mumbo-jumbo magic stuff. But I was guessing it involved death, destruction, and blah, blah, blah.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (pp. 16-17). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
Hmm, she contradicts herself in this quote. She says the teacher was vague, but she also admits that she wasn’t paying attention. Maybe if she would’ve been more focused, she (and we) would’ve find out more.
There is also a key point in this novel: the Bowl of Tears artifact. There are magical artifacts that used to belong to the Gods, and some of them are inside Mythos Academy; in the Library, to be more exact. The Bowl of Tears is connected to a murder, since someone apparently stole it. When the history teacher starts to explain why this artifact is important, and why the bad guys want it (and why they want artifacts in general), Gwen says this:
It was all very blah, blah, blah, and my eyes immediately glazed over. More stupid gods and goddesses.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 49). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
She has the same reaction when she finds out a book about this mysterious magical artifacts. A book she finds in the dead girl’s room, because she wants to find out who killed Jasmine Ashton. The book even has a bookmark at the Bowls of Tears chapter (a clue!). What does she say when she opens the book? More blah, blah. Gwen also finds a book about illusions, but she does not pay attention to it either. How on earth can she solve a murder, if she doesn’t pay attention to the clues, and details? Or if she doesn’t bother to learn more about magic?
For short, instead of finding out more about Gwen’s world, magical artifacts, warriors, ancient wars between gods, Greek and Norse Gods, we only get blah,blah,blah, and more blah,blah,blah.
Sure, there are a couple of passages about the Bowl of Tears, but to the bear minimum. I would’ve like to read about Loki’s legend, about different artifacts, some history about the school, and the gods, and so on.
The reason why Gwen is not interested in finding out more about her world is ridiculous. She goes to a school full with students who can do various types of magic, and yet she does not believe in mythology and gods. She only accepts her own magic, which is a little bit self-centered, if you ask me. She’s surrounded by magic, and all the evidence is right under her nose, and yet she does not believe in the war, in the bad guys, and in gods.
Another thing. Mythos Academy is suppose to be a place where warriors can train, and develop. I don’t know if there are any magic classes, because they’re not mentioned. Based on the novel, Gwen only has history, and gym (fighting).
The main plot of this book is about Gwen solving a murder. The thing is, I already guessed what happened with Jasmine, way before Gwen does. To be more exact, at page 176 (373 in total) I managed to put the pieces together. Five important clues are mentioned: Gwen can’t see/feel anything when she touches the dead girl’s body or her blood; Jasmine has a book about illusions (Gwen ignores it, since books are blah blah for her); Ashton also has a book about artifacts with a sticker on the Bowl of Tears chapter; Morgan’s picture in Jasmine’s trash bin (and the feeling Gwen gets from touching it), and what Daphne says about illusions (ay, the panther scene).
The problem is not that I figured the mystery pretty fast. I would’ve like to see Gwen playing detective, and putting the pieces together. What bugged me the most is the fact that Gwen ignores everything, and she keeps forgetting important details, even though she claims that she wants to find out what happened with Jasmine. Basically, she doesn’t solve the murder; the “criminal” tells her what happened at the very end of the book. Apparently, she cannot put two and two together. Unfortunately, Gwen is not the only air headed. Her teacher, and her friends are completely clueless as well.
I don’t think it is realistic the way the students, and teacher react to the murder. One of the students gets killed in the Library, a powerful artifact is missing, and they do nothing. Everybody says something like: oh, that’s what Reapers do, and they just carry on with their daily routine. People aren’t even a little bit frighted that a Reaper is among them. The staff doesn’t bother to investigate, and/or increase the security around campus, and the library. How come the teacher don’t realize that the dead girl’s body is just an illusion? Why aren’t they worried that an artifact, that can control someone’s mind, is in the hands of their enemy? Pff, they don’t even hold some sort of ceremony for Jasmine, not even a moment of silence before classes, or something. Nope, only Gwen wants to know why that girl was murdered. Mostly because her powers didn’t work on Jasmine’s body, and she thinks it is weird how her classmates and teachers don’t react. At least here, Gwen and I are on the same page.
Romance: Superficial. At least the one between Gwen and Logan. She likes him because he’s hot, and that’s it. Logan likes her because she’s different for some reason, and probably because she’s hot too (even though Gwen calls herself plain). Gwen is also clueless when it comes to guys. Logan repeatedly tries to talk with her, he wants to kiss her (and she ruins the moment), he saves her life 2 times, and yet Gwen doesn’t realize that Logan likes her. >.<
Of course, at the end of the novel, Logan cannot be with Gwen because he has some dark secret. And because he has a girlfriend (even though he’s a whore). Ironic. Gwen is trashing Morgan for stealing Jasmine’s boyfriend, but she thinks it’s OK for her to be in lust with Samantha’s boyfriend.
The romance between Daphene and Carson is cute. They know each other for a while now. They’ve been crushing on each other for months. They don’t become a couple out of the blue, or because both of them think the other is hot.
Vic: the talking sword. He is my favorite character, even though he has only a few lines.
Daphene: Blond, beautiful, rich. Of course, she becomes a good person only after Gwen becomes friends with her. I do like her, though. I would’ve love to know more about her, especially about her magic, and what a Valkyrie is. Gwen keeps calling Daphene The Valkyrie for some reason: “the Valkyrie said”, “the Valkyrie did”. Not sure why Gwen cannot say Daphene. Side note. Why blond girls are always the mean ones? What, brunettes cannot be evil?
Carson: Lovely guy. He is a Celt, and his talent is music. Carson can play any kind of instrument. And of course, Gwen has to plaster a sticker on his forehead: the band geek. Yea, because knowing how to play musical instruments, makes you a geek now. Again, Gwen calls him “the band geek”, instead of Carson. She thinks the words “geek” 29 times. Carson is not developed much in this novel. He’s just the band geek, and Daphene’s love interest.
Logan: Gwen’s love interest. His character is not developed either. Logan the bad boy; he’s hot, has abs, he’s the man-whore. And of course, being a bad boy means that he’ll toy around with Gwen. Logan’s also called “the Spartan” (12 times). We don’t get to know much about Spartans either; this is all we find out: they’re good warriors, they can kill you with any kind of object, and they’re brave.
Gwen: lazy, judgmental, self-absorbed, clueless, superficial, and she has bad sense of humor.
I don’t need to read about Gwen and her grandma’s purple eyes 12 times.
My violet eyes flicked over to the thick volume, which was sitting on the edge of my desk.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 194). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
My violet eyes flicked back to the dark offices.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 220). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
If her eyes would’ve been blue, they couldn’t flick over a thick book, or back to the office?
So I just stared at him, my feelings for him so obvious in my violet eyes.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 341). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
How does she know her feeling are “so obvious” in her eyes? Because they’re violet? Or maybe Gwen looks at herself in the mirror way too much!
A girl who can see the history behind an object or person just by touching them. Well, she has an unique power, that’s for sure, and it could’ve been used in such interesting ways: solve murders, discover important facts about ancient artifacts, be a human lie detector, and so forth. This is not the case though, at least not in this book.
Gwen uses her touch magic to find missing objects for money. While I don’t think it’s bad that she gets a little bit of cash, I don’t understand why she’s not interested in finding out more about her own magic. Her history teacher tells her that touch magic is rare, and it can be used in various ways, yet Gwen does not do any kind of research, or any kind of practice with her magic. However, that does not stop her for moaning about how the other students are way better than her. For example, Gwen complains that she’s not good at fighting, but she does not make any effort to get better, to train. Why are these heroines always so lazy?
Gwen’s mother, and grandmother did not tell her about the mythical world until the teacher from Mythos Academy went and knocked on their door. Not even after Gwen started to go to school, her grandmother refuses to answer important questions. It it her caretakers’ fault that she did not know about the Gods, and magic; not sure why she blames other people.
Also, I am not sure why Gwen is a Gypsy. Gypsies are several ethnic groups (yes, more than one) that originated from India/Pakistan. They have their own mythology, legends, gods, and yet Gwen is connected with a Greek God, Nike. How come? And, most Gypsies are not snow white skin, freckles, brown hair, and purple eyes (I said most of them, not all of them). They have their own physical distinctive features, just like every other nation. Ay, apparently her magic is what makes her to be a gypsy, but again, not sure why. I think it would’ve been more inserting to find out more about Gypsy mythology and gods, since Gwen is a “Gypsy girl”. But of course, that implies research.
Gwen is very judgmental, and hypocritical. She complains that she does not have any friends, but that does not stop her from judging her classmates even though she does not know them (like calling them sluts, spoiled, bitches, mean, geek etc.). Also, on one hand she says they’re rich and spoiled (in a bad way), and on the other hand she mentions their designer stuff all the time: designer t-shirt, designer shoes, designer bag etc.. A person who has designer clothes is not necessary bad, or a bitch. I also don’t understand the fascination with designer clothes; I checked, and the word “designer” is mentioned 15 times. I don’t mind their expensive clothes, I don’t like the repetition; once or twice is enough. In general, wealthy people buy expensive stuff, so deal with it.
The word slut is mentioned in this book 10 times. Morgan is the school slut, according to Gwen. Well Gwen, don’t you know that rumors are not facts? Why would you judge a person you don’t know based on what others say about her? And even if Morgan is in fact sleeping with the whole school (based on Gwen), why do you care? You’re not her friend, not even her enemy! So what is it to you [Gwen] that Morgan sleeps around? I could’ve understand (a little bit) if Morgan did something bad to Gwen, or stole her boyfriend (as in, saying mean stuff out of hurt), but to call a girl slut based on what others say/how she dresses, is not right. Also, from this book we get that Morgan has a boyfriend! One! Yes, it used to be Jasmine‘s boyfriend, but so what?
Morgan’s reputation for being a raging slut who’d sleep with almost anyone made her number one with the guys, though. Naturally.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 25). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
Way to put all guys into the same box, Gwen.
I didn’t look like a beautiful fairy princess like Daphne had, but at least I didn’t come off as a total slut like Morgan either.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 244). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
But even if I had been a raging slut like Morgan McDougall who gave it up just for fun, there was still the little problem of my Gypsy gift.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 102). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
Why do you [Gwen] keep comparing yourself with this girl? You don’t even know Morgan! Gwen is a little bully; she puts others down, so she can feel better about herself. There is more to a person than just she/he having sex, darling. If you would’ve bother to get to know people, instead of judging them, you would’ve known that.
Morgan looked gorgeous and totally slutty at the same time.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 225). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
That caught the Amazon’s interest. “Really? That’s quick work, even for a total slut like Morgan. Tell me more… .”
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 77). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
Really, Gwen? And you wonder why you don’t have friends? Maybe people can sense the judgment coming off of you in waves. Or maybe you don’t have a poker face.
I rolled my eyes. Slut.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 258). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
From what I’d seen, Samson had been a very willing participant. In his own way, he was just as big a slut as Morgan was.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (pp. 275-276). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
Speaking of sluts, and double standard. Gwen calls people sluts or whores left, and right (boy, or girl). However, she is lusting over the school’s man whore (according to Gwen). Again, there is no evidence that Logan is a man whore; based on the novel, he sneaked out of a girl’s room, but it could’ve been his girlfriend’s room. Gwen puts a Scarlet Letter on girls, but she has no problem with Logan’s past. Sure, she says several times that Logan is a man-whore, but she still falls for him.
Logan freaking Quinn, the man-whore of Mythos Academy. He was probably only talking to me because I’d turned him down the other day and he wanted another shot at me. He probably thought I was so lonely, friendless, and desperate that I’d be an easy mark.
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 158). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
Jasmine has double standards as well:
Jasmine nodded. “Exactly. I loved Samson; I really did. But he’s a guy, after all, and he’s always thinking with his dick. I expected this sort of thing from him. But Morgan and I grew up together. She’s almost like a sister to me, which made her betrayal all the worse. That’s why she’s going to pay for screwing my boyfriend.”
Estep, Jennifer (2011-08-01). Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Book 1) (p. 275). Kensington. Kindle Edition.
And of course Jasmine does not bother to kill her ex-boyfriend as well, even though he is the one who cheated on her. No, only Morgan is the problem. And guys think with their dick? Some of them maybe, but again, you cannot put a group of different individuals into the same box.
I’m sorry I wrote so much about the slut thing. It just bothers me a lot.
As I said, the book had potential, and I did read worse novels. Even though I did not like Touch of Frost that much, I did read the next book in the series. I wanted to see if the story gets better.
Initially, I wanted this post to be about the whole series. Certain things fired me up, and I couldn’t stop writing. I will review the next books in the same post.